Virgin launches its US-based consumer electronics offering Virgin Pulse this week, with a brand designed by Start and products created by New York-based group Ecco Design.
The Virgin Pulse range will be available through the 22 Virgin Megastores in the US and throughout the 1200-strong Target retail chain on an exclusive basis for the first six months of the roll-out.
Start’s work encompasses name generation, identity, tone of voice, packaging concepts, point- of-sale ideas, literature and website templates.
Start managing director Mike Curtis says Virgin Pulse’s ‘friendly’ styling will challenge the ‘blandness’ of many of its competitors.
‘The products have a distinctive character to them,’ he says. ‘It’s the lack of character between Sony, Panasonic and JVC that’s making the market seem fairly commoditised to consumers.’
The Virgin brand is ‘still intrinsically linked’ with music in the minds of US consumers, particularly among younger shoppers, Curtis adds.
‘It’s a bit more rock and roll and premium [in its appeal] than it is over here, where it’s seen as more of a value brand,’ he says.
Virgin group brand marketing director Ashley Stockwell says Virgin Pulse will emphasise the ‘human experience’ of personal entertainment rather than the technological devices themselves.
Design director Richard Crabb and executive creative director Darren Whittingham led the project team at Start.
The consultancy won the work early last year on the strength of previous work for the Virgin brand.